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8 Things to Know Before Visiting the USA

There’s a lot more to travelling to the USA than the holiday hot spots on the East and West Coast. Here’s a few things you need to know if you want to take the ultimate adventure to the USA.

1. It’s incredibly diverse

While you might be familiar with the well-known destinations through Florida or California, each region in the US offers so much to be explored. From the Gulf States of Texas, Alabama and Louisiana in the deep south, to the mountainous South West and states like Montana and the northern coastal charm of New England where you’ll find the delights of Maine and Rhode Island, you might be surprised to find so many holiday-worthy destinations across the breadth of the country.

2. The Carolinas are a must

South Carolina and North Carolina might not get much attention in our part of the world, but to the US, these states make up their golden coastline. Sandy beaches and quaint coastal towns go hand in hand with southern charm, making for an idyllic getaway made even better by the region’s renowned hospitality.

3. It’s the gateway to the Caribbean

If you want to cruise the Caribbean or soak up the Creole vibes, the US is the best place to launch your island adventure. From Miami, it’s only a hop, skip and a boat ride to the world’s most famous paradise.

4. Road and rail provide the best scenery

You don’t have to fly around the country to enjoy the best of the US. Roadtrips are a great way to get around and see more of a region, while the train journeys are iconic, providing a more scenic option for exploring multiple destinations.

5. Tipping is a thing

It’s not an entirely foreign concept to us down under, but tipping is a way of life in the US. From outside the airport to the taxi and even your hotel or accommodation, make sure you have some small notes ready to go. Tipping as much as 15 to 20 percent can be the norm at restaurants, diners and bars. You can always ask the service staff what is expected.

6. There are State and National Parks everywhere

Parks might not be the first thing you think of when travelling to the USA, but the country is full of them. Almost every destination through the Mid South, South East, Mid Atlantic and New England and beyond offers huge State or National Parks and forests to explore. A bucket list item for outdoor lovers, the Appalachian Scenic Trail spans 14 states, and at 3,500km long is the longest hiking-only trail in the world.

7. Anytime is a good time

With the changing of the seasons, there’s always something to enjoy in every state and destination in the US. Where there’s snow in winter, there’s hiking and biking in the summer; where beach lovers flock to the sand in summer there are heaps of attractions to keep everyone entertained all year round.

8. Be prepared

Know your travel requirements ahead of time, most importantly arrival visas. Travellers from eligible countries (including Australia and New Zealand) can apply for the Visa Waiver Program no later than 72 hours before departing for the US, through the government’s official ESTA site.

American Resorts

The Pines

The Pines

Basye, Virginia, United States

Enjoy mountain activities for all seasons at the Pines, beautifully nestled in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Rooms come with complete kitchens, fireplaces, and a washer and dryer. Onsite amenities include a sauna, ski school, restaurant, and live entertainment. Choose a one-bedroom or three-bedroom accommodation. The resort offers a business center and laundry facilities. You'll find a sparkling swimming pool and sauna, too. In the summer, play tennis, swim, play golf, hike and explore the wilderness on horseback. Winter offers downhill skilling on slopes with varying difficulty. You can also sightsee at the caverns on Skyline Drive. Enjoy the mountainous scenery at The Pines, located at Bryce Resort. The Pines offers activities for all seasons, including exploring the scenic Shenandoah Valley. In the summer, enjoy tennis and an outdoor pool, an 18-hole golf course, miniature golf, grass skiing and biking. Swimming, canoeing, and fishing are also available at Lake Laura. Winter offers you downhill skiing with slopes that vary in difficulty. Enjoy sight-seeing at the caverns and the Skyline Drive. The Shenandoah Valley stretches 200 miles across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains. It's been nicknamed "The Big Valley" and immortalized in song, dance, film and television. The history and heritage of the region includes many sites devoted to the pioneers who traveled westward, settled and farmed - those like the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton and Cyrus McCormick's Farm in Raphine. He invented the first reaper! They say Virginia is for lovers. It's also for families, tourists, history buffs, skiers, bikers and golfers. Come and enjoy your Virginia vacation!

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Powder Ridge Village

Powder Ridge Village

Eden, Utah, United States

If you truly intend to get away during your getaway, Powder Ridge Village, 5,000 feet above sea level in Eden Utah, is the perfect place to rejuvenate your senses. Guests may choose a one-, two- or three-bedroom condo - all recently remodeled. They are all equipped with complete kitchen sets and utensils, satellite TVs in both the master bedroom and living room, fireplaces, pull-out sofas, ski closets, and balconies. Decor is calming and furniture is always in good condition. A new welcome center includes a game room, recent release movies, indoor pools (one for children), hot tub and laundry facilities. The resort also offers tennis, horseshoes, bike rentals, convenience store, hiking trails, and mountain biking. Eden is located in the Wasatch Mountains of north-central Utah, and the Village is between the north and middle fork of the beautiful Ogden River. Located on the top of the mountain, you're privy to amazing views in all directions. In addition to stunning scenery, Powder Ridge Village offers year-round recreation. In winter, you'll enjoy ski-in ski-out access to Powder Mountain resort, which has 25 trails on three interconnected mountains. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snow-shooing are also popular activities. The slopes of Nordic Valley and Snow Basin are both a short drive away. In summer, Pine View Lake, 12 miles away, offers sailing, waterskiing, fishing, horseback riding, and windsurfing. A championship 18-hole golf course is only five miles away. Come for the sunshine, the skiing, or just to enjoy a getaway with your family at Powder Ridge Village.

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